By Jon Weisman
Scott Van Slyke has come off the disabled list and into the Dodger starting lineup tonight against Texas lefty Wandy Rodriguez, but he is taking the roster spot of a pitcher, not a position player.
Righty reliever Chris Hatcher has been placed on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, retroactive to June 15.
For the time being, that leaves the Dodgers with a season-low six pitchers in their bullpen: righties Kenley Jansen, Yimi Garcia, Juan Nicasio and Josh Ravin, and lefties J.P. Howell and Adam Liberatore.
Chris Hatcher said he felt a twinge in his oblique after his appearance on Sunday. Tried rest first. Got MRI this morning
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) June 17, 2015
Liberatore is the only Dodger who has pitched in two games since Friday. The Dodgers have gotten a pair of eight-inning outings in that time, from Zack Greinke and Brett Anderson.
Van Slyke enters tonight’s game 6 for 21 with a double and four walks against southpaws this season (.756 OPS). Last year, Van Slyke had a 1.045 OPS in 130 plate appearances against left-handers.
Update: Don Mattingly told reporters today that the Dodgers would likely go back to a seven-man bullpen as soon as Thursday.
“We wouldn’t have been able to go one short today if it wasn’t for Brett yesterday,” Mattingly said. “Zack helped us out — we were kind of in the same-type spot, where we had some guys who had been used and needed a day, so that puts you in a bind, (but) Zack kind of cleared that up.
“Then we have the extra-inning game (Sunday), so we’re kind of back in it, (but) Brett took care of us. We know we can do it for a day. Having Kersh tonight and kind of a full boat allows us to do it for a day, and we’ll see where we go from there.”
As far as the burgeoning corps of relievers on rehab assignments: Pedro Baez is scheduled to have his first outing Friday with Oklahoma City, Brandon League is scheduled to pitch in Triple-A as well on Friday and Saturday, and Joel Peralta is expected to do the same Thursday and Friday. So all three are close, but none is expected to arrive in Los Angeles this week.
The other active Dodger pitchers on the 40-man roster who are at Oklahoma City are Daniel Coulombe, Ian Thomas, Matt West and Joe Wieland. Thomas and Wieland have been used as starters — Thomas in fact pitched six innings of one-run ball today.
Coulombe (1.00 WHIP, 21 strikeouts in 18 innings) relieved Thomas today and pitched two-thirds of an inning, allowing two runs. He has already been called up to the Dodgers three different times since May 4.
West most recently pitched two innings on Tuesday, allowing two runs. He had 10 strikeouts and a 0.87 ERA in 10 1/3 innings with Double-A Tulsa, followed by eight strikeouts and an 8.03 ERA in 12 1/3 innings with Oklahoma City.